Game Day and a Couple of Secrets

Yesterday afternoon Luke asked me who invented the piano. We found out that the first piano (harpsichord) is thought to have been invented by Bartolomeo Christofori in 1709 in Italy. We then looked at pictures of harpsichords (all of this with a little help from the internet.) Luke then brought up his piano books and we looked up information about Johann Sebastian Bach. Here is a fun site we found with his music on it. It was fun for Luke to hear Minuet in G major since that is a piece Luke has learned.

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Today was game day. Last night I told Luke and Isabel that we would play games instead of school today. A little secret they don’t know is that playing games is school. At least here at Sabrina School. Our first game was Vowel Bingo. I got a little nervous at first because when I was taking it out of the package I noticed that it had the vowels with the line or curved line above them (long or short vowels) and I somehow slipped through the system and passed elementary school without ever knowing what in the world those were…

BREAK IN THOUGHT HERE: Another little secret about Sabrina School is that it is not called Sabrina School because it is my school that I run and teach, it is called Sabrina School because it is the school that I go to right now. I’m gettin’ schooled.

…Alright, where was I? So after a quick glance I got it that the line above (does any one know how to type the line and the curve? Nevermind I actually really don’t even want to know) means the vowel makes the sound of it’s name, like the word ABLE would have a strait line over the “A” and AFRO would have a curved line over the “A.”

STRAIT LINE/CURVED LINE

Able/Afro

Evil/Elf

Icy/Itch

Oval/Oblong

Used/Underwear

Got it?! So I had a quick lesson with Isabel on what vowels are and we played. She caught on very quickly and didn’t need my help. Oh here is a very stupid story to help your kids memorize the vowels…

STUPID STORY BREAK: A mother was making cookies and was out of sugar. She sent her four year old daughter to their neighbor’s house to borrow some. The neighbor gave the little girl a cup of sugar. The little girl said, “A E” (supposed to sound like a little kid saying “lady”) “I owe you a cup of sugar.” A E I O U a cup of sugar.

…After I told it to Luke and Isabel they thought it was stupid and pointless. Stupid, yes, pointless, no. I had asked Isabel before the story if she remembered what the five vowels are and she didn’t. Now after that stupid story she knows them and will never forget them.

They played Candy Land together and then I had cut out letters and parts of words they put together up on a flannel board to make words. Then chess. Luke’s grandfather taught him how to play and Luke is so into it. I feel guilty about not playing with him enough. He is so cute trying to use strategy and giving me tips. He is a much better chess player than I am. Isabel was on my team and mostly liked “torturing the prisoners.”

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Mount Everest on Google Maps

Luke slept in until noon today, so this morning I played Don’t Eat Pete again with Isabel and Sylvia. Isabel read to me, she practiced writing her first middle and last name on the board and she drew a picture. After Luke had breakfast/lunch, I had both of them practice their addition with flash cards. Isabel then played outside while Luke did school. In his personal reading book, Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, there is mention of the Himalayas. He was confused because I guess in the book it mentions the tallest mountain and he thought that the tallest mountain was Mount Everest. I explained to him that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain and that the Himalayas are a mountain range (group of mountains) that Mount Everest is in. We then looked at the Himalayas on our globe and on Google maps. Have you ever seen Mount Everest on Google Maps before? Really neat. Okay, maybe not really neat, there is certainly a lot of white. He is now writing in his Take Five Journal and his story journal.

I know I’ve said this before, but my blog is a lifesaver to me. With home schooling, activities, projects, worksheets, etc. get done so quickly that I feel guilty, like we aren’t doing enough. Being a mom, or just being my crazy self, I can’t remember what I did yesterday, so it is nice for me to look back through my blog and say, “Oh, we actually DO do things!”

Don’t Eat Pete…Eat a Root

When Luke (my seven year old) was about two, my mother gave us a board book that came with a little tin of Cheerios called, Don’t Eat Pete. Each page has pictures of 9 to 16 different faces on it. Faces made out of clay, animal faces, etc. You pick a page, place one Cheerio on each face and have one person leave the room or cover their ears. Then you pick which face will be “Pete.” After that person comes back in the room, they slowly eat the Cheerios one by one. Right when he/she is about to put the “Pete” Cheerio in their mouth, everyone else yells, “DON’T EAT PETE!” It sounds like a very simple stupid game, but kids love it!

This morning Luke, Isabel and I taught Sylvia how to play. She caught on and was delighted whenever we would shout “DON’T EAT PETE!” at her. The company who made the book is called Klutz and I went to Klutz.com to try to find this book but I guess it is not in print anymore. However, I did find this site that has the Don’t Eat Pete game but with M&M’s and a printable game board. We will have to play with M&M’s next time…yum.

From the February 2008 edition of Friend magazine I had Luke and Isabel make these cute hearts and write or draw what they love. While they were busy with that I put together the one from the magazine that I used as the pattern and showed them what Heavenly Father gave us because he loves us.

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Last night I went grocery shopping with root vegetables on my mind and came home with a jicama or a “Mexican Potato” or “Mexican Turnip.” That is exactly what they look like too. At lunch today, I was pretty timid about cutting it, but once I found out how easy it is to peel it with a knife and then slice up, I wondered why I haven’t been buying jicamas all the time! Yummy.

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Isabel and I liked to say “We’re eating roots!” Luke was very serious and kept correcting us, “They are root vegetables.”

Root Vegetables

A great read aloud chapter book is My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It was old enough for my seven year old to be interested in it and yet young enough for my five year old to be able to follow and enjoy as well. I love killing two birds with one stone. (Did I just compare a book to a stone, my kids to birds and reading to them, killing them?) I have already put Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon also by Ruth Stiles Gannett on my library request list!

This morning we worked more on our comic book, more Math on the white board and had a lesson on braiding. I got some yarn and tied three strands together on one end. Luke was so not into it. I guess it’s a girl thing. We then got a potato in some water and are waiting to see if it sprouts. I had them name vegetables they could think of that are roots. They thought of carrots, radishes and onions. We then looked up more on the internet, garlic, yams, sweet potatoes, Chinese water chestnuts and a lot of Latin named vegetables I’ve never heard of before.
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Basketball Solar System

Today at the park we did a science experiment or lesson. I found this great article on the internet about astronomical distances and time that shows the size and distances of the solar system if our sun was the size of a basketball. We brought a basket ball (sun) four seeds (Mercury, Mars, Pluto and the our moon) two peas (Venus and Earth) a golf ball (Jupiter) ping pong ball (Saturn) and two small bouncy balls (Neptune and Uranus.)

Thirty eight feet from our basketball sun I had Aden place our Mercury seed. Next Luke placed the Venus pea sixty seven feet, and on until we had to stop since Jupiter would have interrupted a football game in progress. I at least showed them the sizes of the rest of the planets and let them know that Pluto seed would be three thousand more feet from our basketball sun. Also that the closest star from our basketball solar system would be from here to New York.

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A Better Day

Yesterday was a much better day. We stayed at home, did some school in the morning, cleaning and even baking in the afternoon! I am sure there are more hours in some days. That night I went and got my hair cut by my friend, Lanece, which was a very good and much needed night out for me.

We are all out of ink in our printer (don’t you hate that) so we did math on the white board which as it turned out the kids liked doing it that way better. Oh, and despite what it may look like from the picture, Sylvia (my 2 year old) did not just do that 13,370 math problem. Just the scribbles next to it.

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Here is Sylvia singing “bitsy bitsy”

I need HELP with my schedule! Or do I?

This morning we went to the schoolroom at the community clubhouse with my friends and their children to do a craft. I was in charge last minute so I had them make toilet paper roll robots and color butterflies.

After lunch I had projects for school planned, but fell asleep during reading time.

As you know this is my first year of home schooling my children and I am still trying to figure things out.  I need help with our schedule.  Most mornings after we have eaten and are dressed we get to work, math, journal writing, calendar, and whatever other projects and activities we do in our schoolroom.  Even though I don’t take my kids to the grocery store and on errands during the day, there are many days that we have other activities.  This week has been a perfect example, Monday: the parade, Tuesday: MOPS, today: craft with friends.  These days I try to do school in the afternoon.  Then there are the days where for some reason or another things aren’t going well for me or one or ALL of the kids and we don’t get as much done as we had planned.  I have a friend who grew up with friends that were home schooled and she says that she always wanted to home school her children (alas, she is a single mother and has to work.)  She said that she would do school only three days a week.  I know I am rambling and rambling, but my point is, I don’t have a schedule!  I don’t know when our breaks will be, what we will be (or wont be) doing in the summer.  Sometimes I worry that I am not having them do enough.  Sometimes I worry that I am making them do too much.

I usually don’t voice this (or any) home schooling concerns with anyone.  For one, I don’t want my husband to think I am a slacker and panic that our kids will always have a first grade IQ.  Second, I don’t want my certain “friends”, who think I am weird for home schooling anyway,  to have that I-told-you-so attitude.

If anyone has any ideas, tips, schedules that work for them, or just words of encouragement, PLEASE let me know.  I need your help!